Access Anyway

It often happens when developing or maintaining a website that I need to disable access to the site, but still be able to access it myself. If the site I'm working on doesn't have a maintenance mode feature, I need some way to access the site in spite of the fact that it is down. Sometimes I also need to give this access to a client or technician as well. This is what Access Anyway is for.


At the moment, Access Anyway is written in PHP and the include file which checks for current access assumes you wish to access a PHP-based web site. You could use Access Anyway on a non-PHP site provided you a) have the ability to run PHP on the server, and b) your code supports sessions. See includes/access.php for how this is set up. Also see Using Access Anyway with Non-PHP Applications below.


Download the source code, or better yet, check it out like so:

git clone

Put this any where that is accessible to your web server, either in document root or as an alias.


Using Access Anyway is really easy. After downloading the code, insert this at the top of your PHP file:

include "access-anyway/includes/access.php"; # or the path to where you put it

By default, this will simply inform the visitor that the site is down. In order to access the site anyway, got to /url/to/access-anyway and click on the appropriate button. Once the cookie is set, future calls to includes/access.php will have no effect.

Using Access Anyway with Non-PHP Applications

If it possible to use Access Anyway outside of PHP. For example, you could set up Access Anyway in a Web-accessible directory or using an alias. The application will still work as normal. However, since you can't include the access.php file, you will need to implement the cookie check in your own code.

Central Location

Access Anyway may be used and customized from your project, but you can also maintain a copy in a central location on your server which may be used for multiple projects.

Assuming you installed Access Anyway at /opt/access-anyway, the following setup and usage would be possible:

  1. Your Web server must be set up with an alias to serve /access-anyway. For example, with Apache, this would be: Alias /access-anyway "/opt/access-anyway"
  2. Change to the document root of your site or project.
  3. Run the /opt/access-anyway/ This command creates ../config/access-anyway/config.php.
  4. Edit the config.php file that was just created to change the settings to your liking.
  5. Edit any file that needs to check access (like index.php) and add include "/opt/access-anyway/includes/access.php"; to the top of the file.

Note: If you have command line access, the script is provided for convenience, but is based on a specific implementation. If this isn't to your liking, feel free to customize the script. Also, you may enter ./ --help on the command line for information about the script.


Currently only one configuration option is supported:


The includes/access.php file looks for config.php in these locations and in the following order:

  1. The path to the includes/ directory (where access.php lives).
  2. The path to the access-anyway/index.php file.
  3. A ../config/access_anyway directory just above document root.

Disclaimer About the Image

I'm using an image for the offline access page (under-the-hood.jpg), but I'm not sure where it came from or what it's licensing restrictions would be. If this is your image and you would like credit for it, please let me know. Or let me know if you want it removed from the project. If this is not your image, but you have a better one to submit with a more certain heritage, then please send a pull request.